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Jacques Callot : La maraude , 1633 (from the series Les misères de la guerre )

A marauder is someone who pillages , loots , extorts , robs , steals , rapes or murders on the edge of fighting . Most of these are combatants who have become unfit due to illness or injury and are retired, or expelled from the troops because of misconduct, or deserters .

The term is derived from the French maraude or maraudage , which means "field theft" or "mouth robbery" - especially by soldiers. Related is the German adjective ailing , which is used synonymously with “rundown”, “fallen” or “degenerate”.

Marauders often band together. The longer a conflict lasts, the greater the marauding troubles naturally become, because the number of people grows who no longer have or see any other means of survival. For this reason, a large number of marauders was also one of the side effects of the Thirty Years' War . However, the phenomenon is by no means limited to the early modern period .


In the Austro-Hungarian Army, soldiers who were unfit for action because of illness or injury were referred to as ailing (plural: ailing ) . As an adjective, ailing or ailing is also the general expression for a bad or frail condition.

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Wiktionary: Marauder  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations